Journal Article

Airborne synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) imaging to help assess impacts of stationary fishing gear on the north Brazilian mangrove coast

Uwe Krumme, Tommaso Giarrizzo, Rodolfo Pereira, Allan Jamesson Silva de Jesus, Christoph Schaub and Ulrich Saint-Paul

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Volume 72, issue 3, pages 939-951
Published in print March 2015 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online November 2014 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
Airborne synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) imaging to help assess impacts of stationary fishing gear on the north Brazilian mangrove coast

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  • Environmental Science
  • Marine and Estuarine Biology


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Assessing artisanal fishing effort and catches in remote tropical coastal areas is a continuous challenge for fisheries data collection. This is the first spatio-temporal analysis of the large tidal weir (LTW) fishery operating on intertidal sand banks along the world’s longest mangrove coast, north Brazil. Airborne synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) images and aerial photos were integrated with field sampling to investigate catch and discard compositions of seven LTW during the main fishing season. LTW measurements on the SAR images were used to generate estimates on daily catch, wood extraction, and sand accumulation. In a coastal stretch of 67 km, 793 LTW were identified on SAR images from 2004, including 573 active LTW. The number of active LTW in Taperaçú Bay and Caeté Bay had increased from 87 in 1998 to 132 in 2004 (52% increase), and from 92 to 202 (106% increase), respectively. Sixty-five fish species from 24 families were captured in the LTW. Ariidae, Sciaenidae, Haemulidae, and Carangidae accounted for 45, 20, 10, and 7% of the total sampled catch weight of 3441 kg, respectively. The mean daily catch per LTW was 110 kg ± 9 SE. Total discards in outer estuarine LTW were >3 times higher than in inner estuarine LTW. All Aspredinidae, Belonidae, Tetraodontidae, and Trichiuridae, and >75% of Auchenipteridae, Clupeidae, Engraulidae, Ephippidae, Loricariidae, Scombridae, and Soleidae were discarded. The LTW fishery apparently practices balanced harvesting; however, the massive LTW increase suggests fishing effort reduction to moderate levels. Mangrove wood extraction for LTW construction (22 835 m3 or 855 390 trees) and sand accumulation (144 802 m3) likely have only local scale effects, negligible for the overall ecosystem dynamics. The study highlights the potential of SAR images for use in fisheries data collection and management of tropical coasts, emphasizing the need for integration with ground-truthing field studies.

Keywords: discard; remote sensing; stationary fishing gear; tidal fish weir; tropical estuary

Journal Article.  9264 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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